Michaelmas is the first seasonal celebration we have at the end of September. This is a festival, celebrating strength of will – the inner initiative we all have (represented by the Archangel Michael) to overcome fear, anxiety, and negativity (represented by the dragon). As the natural world prepares to draw inward to itself, which we increasingly notice by the falling of leaves, the chill in the air, and the hardening of the ground, this festival invites us also to draw inward in devotion to self-consciousness. The whole school walked a spiral together to signify this self-reflection, sang songs about the Archangel Michael defeating the dragon, and watched a performance by the 2nd, 6th, and 12th grades.
The Mid-Autumn Festival is a harvest festival celebrated by many Chinese people. It falls on the 15th of the eighth month of the lunar calendar, when the moon is at its roundest and brightest. This year it fell on October 4th.
The ancient Chinese observed that the movement of the moon had a close relationship with the changes of the seasons and agricultural production. To express their thanks and appreciation, families gather to celebrate and admire the moon. We welcomed our families into the classroom to learn about the history of this festival. To honor their cultural tradition, Anderson’s and Kiwi’s parents brought delicious mooncakes to eat and we drank chrysanthemum tea.
Diwali, the festival of lights, is a very special holiday for people of the Hindu faith. It is celebrated in autumn on the darkest night of the month, which was October 19th. This festival marks the beginning of the new year in the Hindu calendar, a time to hope for good luck and to spread good cheer. It is a celebration of the victory of good over evil. Lamps, called “diyas,” are lit to remember Prince Rama’s defeat of the evil king Ravana. Aarush’s mom and brother visited our class to help us celebrate, bringing sweet Indian treats and beautiful, individual diyas as a gift for each student. A rangoli pattern, like the one below in colored sand on our table, is traditionally made outside the doors of homes to welcome the goddess Lakshmi so that she may bestow blessings.